(This is the sixth part of a short story which is entirely a work of fiction.)
The next morning, at breakfast, Vasudha suggested that they both take a weekend break. Sheshu’s eyes light up. He suddenly felt that he badly needed a break. Three years of toiling without any meaningful break whatsoever could take a toll. They both started discussing where they could go. They first thought that it cannot be too long but later felt that the team could handle stuff on their own. They did have a mature team in place. Its just that they felt too scared to let go. What if something happened? What if a crisis came up?
Starting a new business is like raising a child. For the first few years, the child needs your constant attention. After a certain point, you don’t realise that the child has become independent. You are too scared to let go. Unless you actually try, you are never sure. But you feel you cannot let go until you are sure. The Soms were in that phase with Narayana Hospital.
However, with all that had happened in the past few weeks, they both felt that if they did not take a good, meaningful break, things could become much worse. They needed to get away from it all. They needed to find each other. They loved each other so deeply. For the first time in all these years, it looked as if a slight coldness had begun developing between them.
They zeroed in on Coonoor. This little hill station close to Ooty was the perfect place for them to recharge. They had been there once briefly before starting Narayana Hospital. They had always wanted to go back there. The first trip was only a couple of days and they felt they hadn’t got enough of it.
That afternoon, Vasudha called a meeting of her most trusted advisors in the hospital. These were business graduates who had joined them early on and took care of all the administrative and financial aspects of the hospital. She announced that she would be away for a week on a holiday. She was to be disturbed only for something really urgent. Dr. Som also met a few of the hospital’s senior most doctors and told them that he was going to be away for a week.
The couple headed out the next morning. A couple of flights and a two-hour drive later they found themselves in the cool climes of Coonoor. They had booked themselves at a homestay. Though they were quite tired with the travel, they decided to take a walk before going to bed. After a long, long time, they held hands and went on a long walk. As they walked along the road, they took in the moist, cold air, free from any smoke. The silence of the night was broken only by the odd bicycle passing by. There was a gentle breeze blowing. What a good decision they had taken to go to that place!
The next few days went by. They would have a hot breakfast and then head out to the middle of town, stroll around, go on treks and return by late evening. They were disturbed only a couple of times for some work from the hospital. Other than that, they could take their minds fully off work and enjoy the time together.
The night before they were supposed to return home, during a walk, Sheshu told Vasudha that they should talk about the IP charges and resolve the issue before heading back. Vasudha nodded. Sheshu said that he understood the pressure on her and that sometimes he did become impractical due to his naivety. He suggested to her that they do an IP price of 30% above the OP price. Vasudha agreed. They smiled at each other and were very happy with the way they reached a compromise and with the way the week had gone by.